How to make a piñata

Kids love to bash a sweetie-stuffed piñata. Here's how to make one

How to make a piñata

You will need:

• A beach ball
• Lots of strips of newspaper (one copy of The National should suffice)
• 1kg of flour
• Water
• Masking tape
• Thick poster paints (tissue paper is optional)
• A hook or ring, and string for hanging
…and a space where you can make a mess

How to:
1 Mix the flour and water in a large bowl. Don’t worry about the measurements. As long as the mixture resembles a fairly thick pancake batter, it will work just fine. Stir all the lumps out of it, and get ready to get your hands dirty.

2 Choose a location that can get messy. Then, blow up your ball and place it on a surface that prevents it from rolling about too much. We found that resting the ball on a laundry drying rack, on an easy-to-mop balcony was perfect.

3 Tear the newspaper into 1-2 inch wide strips and dip them into the flour mixture. Coat the strip fully, and then hold it up with one hand and run it between the finger and thumb of your other hand, from top to bottom. This ensures an even coverage and takes off the excess paste, thus saving you cleaning up time later on.

4 Position the strips of paper over the ball in a ‘pole to pole’ formation – that’s from the top (where the valve is) to the base. Handle the ball gently and turn it as you go, covering as much of the ball’s surface as you can.

5 Once you’ve finished the first layer, (leaving the ball valve visible so you can deflate and remove it afterwards) leave your creation to dry outside for a couple of hours. However, don’t do what we did and leave it in the midday heat. The air in your ball will expand too much and split the layer you’ve just done. Very frustrating!

6 Apply the next layer once the first is dry and rigid, although this time, to add strength to your structure, work the newspaper strips horizontally around the ball instead of pole to pole. Then, once the second layer is dry, add the third layer – this time in the pole to pole formation again. The stronger your piñata is, the longer the game will last, and the more energy and fun your kids will have bashing it up.

7 Once your piñata is hard, deflate and remove the beach ball. The small hole left over, should be big enough to pop the sweets through once it’s finished.

8 Now you can go as crazy as you like decorating the darn thing. We’ve made pirates, Christmas puddings, monster heads, Tweety Pies, Death Stars and Mr Men (although we admit we felt bad when Mr Happy copped it).

9 To fill and hang your piñata, push the sweets through the hole where the ball valve was, and seal it with masking tape. Then, attach the hook or ring to the opposite end. If your piñata has been made with three
layers, you should be able to screw a hook into it, secure it with tape and hang it with ease. It should also stay hanging despite all the bashing and will split to release the sweets, rather than fall down.

10 Try not to cry when the kids smash it up. We know you’ve put your heart and soul into creating your masterpiece, but it was all for the greater good. Just keep repeating, ‘I did it for the children. I did it for the children.’ And you’ll find the whole process easier next time around.
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